China set to tighten grip over global cobalt supply as price hits 32-month low

China is set to boost its global share of cobalt supply to 50% over the next two years, up from its current level of 44%, as the surge in production drops the metal\’s price to a 32-month low. China\’s refining activity in cobalt has more than doubled in the past five years to 140,000 tonnes, equivalent to 77% of global refining capacity, while volumes processed elsewhere in the world stood at 40,000 tonnes. The increased supply has come despite western efforts to control critical minerals such as cobalt, which is key in making electric-car batteries. Demand for the metal has dropped 60% to $16 a pound from its peak of more than $40 a pound in May this year, as Swiss commodities group Glencore ramped up production at Mutanda, the world’s largest cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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